Logistics: INEC's Card Reader- The Game Changer

The card reader is the latest innovation into Nigeria's electoral process and was introduced to minimise rigging of the voters register.

The card reader, is an input device that reads the data in a medium or card, in this case, the Permanent Voter Card, PVC to the purpose of verifying if the data in the card corresponds with the data captured by INEC during the registration exercise of eligible voters.

The introduction of the card reader has sparked controversy with the two major parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC taking opposite positions on the issue.

The PDP is demanding that the card reader be discarded with some of its officials alleging that it is unworkable.

The APC on the other hand, is demanding for the strict use of the device on the premise that it is the best antidote to the rigging of the voters roll.


How INEC's Reader Works 


After inputting the PVC into the card reader, if it is genuine, the picture of the owner would pop up to affirm that the card is genuine.

The next step is to confirm if the presenter of the card is the owner of the card. He or she is now expected to match his fingers on the card reader to show if the finger print would match the original biometric data captured during the registration exercise. If it matches, then the person is passed on to vote.

"If the finger print of the person agrees with the finger print on the imbedded chip and it will say 'Verified' and that means the person is free to go and vote.

If it does not belong to the person, the response would be 'Not Verified' and it says it loud for everybody to hear. If it says that, party agents are there, observers are there, voters are there and an INEC staff says go and vote or not and everybody keeps quiet," Mr. Kayode Idowu, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman told Vanguard.

Mr. Idowu affirmed that the adoption of the card reader has significantly minimised rigging of the electoral roll.

According to him it would take conspiracy of all human elements at the polling unit to enable a wrong person to vote as the card reader would audibly pronounce the eligibility or otherwise of a potential voter.

"The way INEC has designed the Card Reader, it will only take a community conspiracy for the system to be manipulated and if that happens there is nothing anybody can do about it and it will not be the fault of INEC because it is designed in such a way that it is unique. Number one it has a voice prompt which will speak out loudly from the speaker if a voter is accredited or not the moment the finger print is placed on it."

By Emmanuel Aziken and Jude Opara

[Original article published in Vanguard]